Exercise is great for your health. It has beneficial effects on metabolism, circulation and can improve the function of some organs. Additionally, exercise can improve cognitive function and increase the strength of bones.
A review this week in Trends in Pharmalogical Sciences discusses the development of exercise pills in multiple laboratories.
The co-author of the review Ismail Laher, from the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, describes the idea of an exercise pill as ‘ an achievable goal based on our improved understanding of the molecular targets of physical exercise’.
Currently exercise pills are in the early stages of development, with various animal tests being carried out that mainly target skeletal muscles, resulting in them becoming stronger and faster.
So why are exercise are pills being developed? The benefits of an exercise pill are limited for the general population, as the positive outcomes of exercise far exceed those seen in muscles alone. However, for people who are unable to carry out exercise, such as those with spinal cord injuries, an exercise pill could be hugely beneficial.
However before an exercise pill can come to market scientists need to understand the side effects, work out optimal dosages and consider the potential misuse of the drugs, such as in competitive sports. Furthermore, not much is known about the long term effects in humans.
So don’t hang up those running shoes just yet!